Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ten Jacks (This is Math?)

Welcome to the second week of "This is Math?"  If you hoped to find quilting stuff, check out some of my previous posts.  But you MIGHT like this, too!!

Being a teacher at heart, a retired homeschooler, and loving math, I am attempting to give math ideas - FUN math ideas - to Moms who are teaching their elementary aged kids at home and Moms who just need some ideas to motivate number curiosity in their children.

Today I wanted to focus on TEN.  God gave most of us ten fingers and ten toes, and our number system is based on the number TEN.

One game that I enjoyed when I was in elementary school was the game of Jacks.  Maybe you did too.

If you do not know how to play jacks, I suggest you visit this website. It includes rules, pictures, suggestions and ideas about learning to play jacks.

You may not have a set of jacks.  I googled it and believe you can get some at Toys R us.  Sometimes you can find them in the (measly) toy sections of grocery stores.

You could still play the game "Jacks" using any little ball you have on hand - and your favorite dry cereal.  (You might want them to play the game on a clean kitchen table rather than the floor if they plan to eat the cereal!!)

WARNING:  This game includes small parts!!  If you have little children who might be tempted to taste the ball or the jacks you may need some close supervision.  My motto:  "Jacks are toys, not food" might help.

Oh - the math part.  When your kids get good at Jacks, up to "threesies" "foursies" "fivesies" and "sixsies" I think there is a connection with percents and division and remainders.   When they pick up three jacks, how many times will they have to pick up three?  How many will be leftover? When they go to pick up six jacks, ask - how many jacks will you LEAVE?

Or just let them play.

I believe you should be able to copy this Tic-Tac-Toe board and paste it to a word processing document. Each student should pick THREE squares and then complete each task in each of those squares.  They might want to try make a tic-tac-toe.

Count your fingers.  Now count your toes.

Count from ten, backwards, to one. 

How many fingers are there in your household?  How many fingers in your extended family? (include aunts, uncles, grandparents, maybe cousins)
How many fingers AND toes are there in your household? 
Count to 100 by tens. Can you count to 1000 by tens?
Learn to play Jacks.  Use 10 jacks. 

Practice tossing the ball, letting it bounce, and catching it with the same hand.
Learn to play Jacks.  Use 10 jacks. 

Practice tossing the jacks on the floor so they are separated from each other – but not too far apart.
Learn to play Jacks.  Use 10 jacks. 

Practice ‘Onesies’.  Toss the jacks.  Toss the ball up, pick up one jack and catch the ball in the same hand. 
Practice ‘Twosies’.

You may want to just put 2 jacks near each other and practice picking up a pair without interference from other jacks.
Play jacks. 
Use 10 jacks. 

Have fun!!
Next week we will explore Random Number Generators (like dice, drawing straws, casting lots)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Charming Triangles FINISHED

I have finished my Charm Quilt.

Each of the equilateral triangles are cut from a different fabric.  (Well, except that I am not perfect: only God is perfect.  I have found 2 pairs of triangles that may be from the same fabric).  There are 988 triangles on the front of this quilt and 14 triangles on the back - that makes 1002 triangles!!

Scraps of fabric - mind you.

Which I why I am entering this finished quilt in a Festival of Scrapiness  over at Stitched in Color.

I put the triangles into bigger triangles, and then into diamonds.

 When I started quilting the quilt, I intended to stitch on both sides of each seam.  That was quite a task with my little Singer sewing machine!!

But I am SO PLEASED with the results!!  Notice how it makes a pretty little star at every intersection of every triangle.

This is the back of the quilt - and you may be able to see that I used 8 different green fabric triangles and 6 brown triangles to frame the green

Here is some of the quilting detail on the back of the quilt.  I love the triangles and the stars!!

Here is a closer view of the front.  

Simply Charming!!

Check out the other folks who are participating in the Festival of Scrapiness:


Saturday, March 24, 2012

On the Machine

I've been quilting on my Charming Triangles Quilt - in hopes that I will have it finished for the Scrap Attack Quilt-along at Stitched in Color.

I am quilting about 3/8 of an inch from both sides of each seam.  First I stitched on either side of all the horizontal seams.  Then I stitched on both sides of the vertical seams going one direction. This resulted in a beautiful parallelogram pattern showing up on the back of the quilt:

 My daughter really liked this texture and suggested I stop after completing just the one diagonal direction.  "Less is more," she said.

It was a pretty good argument, because it does look nice.

Just a few rows into stitching on the last diagonal, however, changed our minds. 
The triangles look even better.

It makes these little stars at every intersection of triangles!!
It is so amazing!!
Thousands of triangles and thousands of stars!!

 Here is the star on one of the red sets of triangles.

And, below, you can see a star on one of the
'flowery' sets of triangles.
This is turning out even better than I ever imagined!
Back to the machine!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

M & M’s are the Best Candy. (This is Math?)

Here is the first installment of  “This is Math?”

This is a feature suitable for students from Kindergarten age and up to 6th or 7th grade.  My plan is to give Moms some Math ideas to encourage thinking with numbers.  Maybe your children are good at math?  Then this is just fun.  Maybe your children do not like math?  Don't tell them this is math.  Just tell them you want to play a game.  This week we will play with CHOCOLATE.  These activities are created to work with the "fun size" M&M's bag.  I chose the Spring package - but it would probably work with any kind of "fun size" bag of yumminess that is M&M's.

I was successful in copying this tic-tac-toe board from the blog to a word processing document.  You can do it too!  Click on the tic-tac-toe board.  This should take you to the opportunity to look at my two pictures in this post.  If you choose the board and right click, you will see the option "Save Image as...".  Choose this, and you will see a window open that requests WHERE on your computer you want to save this image (maybe you will save it on your desktop and then file it later).  Name it (something like M&M!) and save.  Now it's on your desktop, ready to print and play!

Each student should pick THREE squares to make a tic-tac-toe, and then complete each task in each of those chosen squares.  This may involve some cooperation!

If you have younger kids, pick 2 squares for them that seem appropriate.

Various ideas for counting the candies:
1. Use small paper cups.
2. Place the candies on foil or waxed paper to keep them clean.
3. Use a piece of paper.  Line up each color of candy and trace around the line it makes with the same color crayon or pencil. (You can compare sizes of lines to compare number of candies).

Ideas for finding averages:
1. Deal out the candies (or bags) like you would deal cards (“One for Daddy, one for Mommy, one for sister, one for me.  One for Daddy….”) Count the number each person got.
2.  Add up all the numbers of candies from each bag.  Use dimes to represent ten candies and pennies to represent 1 candy.  For instance: 32 candies could be represented by 32 cents.  Represent each bag’s candies with coins. Then deal out the dimes and pennies evenly.
3. Do the math – with a paper and pencil or learn to use a calculator.  Add up all the candies in each bag and divide by the number of bags.

Do you have friends with children who need to enjoy math?  Tell them about this new feature – and watch on Thursdays.

Maybe Moms need to try it too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UFO #1 - January

Yes.  I know.  It is March.

I finished the January UFO last night.

This is a T-shirt quilt I made for my gymnast-daughter.  She had quite a career with this sport, becoming a coach for pre-schoolers after she stopped competing.

I had this quilt-top finished during the last summer Olympics (2008).  The quilt made my daughter sad, then, knowing that she would not be competing in gymnastics again.  She barely watch the Olympic Gymnasts that year.

Recently, however, this quilt has brought back fond memories.  So I added it to the list to finish.  I'm (trying) to participate in the UFO challenge at Patchwork Times.  You can see the pretty orange button on the right of my blog.  Each month quilters post pictures of the UFO they finished.  At the beginning of April I will get to show that I have actually FINISHED somethings!!

On this quilt I included some of her leotards (you can see one in the top left square above). I hand quilted on that square - just for artistic flare.  She loves rainbows - so I used fussy-cut striped fabric for the lattice pieces.

 On the Governor's Cup shirt I quilted a star around her name in the list of participants.  I think you can see the quilting here.

The quilt is complete with the autograph of the legendary coach, Bela Karolyi.

Daughter's favorite t-shirt (She must have worn this thing once a week, at least!)

The back of the quilt is primarily this black-background-rainbow-polka-dot fabric.  
I had to include this Karoyi quote, heard often in our house:


With a thick Romanian/Hungarian accent.

January UFO (Check!)
February UFO (Check!)
March UFO?  Started....

I better get to work!
Cathy H

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Feature - Coming Soon

You may have noticed on my profile, that I am a retired homeschooler - and that I teach math.  I like math.  I like to see how math works in everyday life.  I like for KIDS to see some reason to work on their math schoolwork.  I think kids should LIKE to do math because they see it is functional, necessary, interesting.


I am planning a new feature on this blog.  You will see a new tab at the top of the blog: "This is Math? "  Each Thursday (well, most Thursdays, I hope) I will post activities for late in the school week.  They will consist of a list of 9 activities.  In a Tic-Tac-Toe board.  Your students, if you should chose to participate, choose 3 of the items from the board in order to form a Tic-Tac-Toe.  If you have younger children, you might choose fewer.  You will notice that the activities go from somewhat simple to more complex as you move down the chart.

The activities this week will require a bag of Fun-Size M&M's.

Watch this blog for details on Thursday!!

Friday, March 16, 2012


It is beginning to look a lot like SPRING!

 My hibiscus is blooming...

My Christmas Cactus is blooming......

I have this amazing house plant that is making
little baby-plants around the edge of the leaves....

The plants outside are turning green - and lots of other colors.....

And there is GREEN in the Quilting Room.

And a few colors too.

Back to my machine!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

UFO #2 - February

Yes.  I know.  There is no finished UFO #1.  YET.

BUT - by April I will have completed 4 UFO's.  Really.

Today, however, I am going to show my February finish.

This is a small wallhanging I started with my Mom at the Library.  A lady came to show us a WAY to make these stars using foundation material.  She had fat quarters for sale that day, and we purchased the fabrics for the star.  And set to learning the technique.

It was so long ago, I am sure I could not tell you how to make this block!!

Along the way, I found the setting fabric.

Then some backing fabric.

And, finished it on Tuesday!!

I used metallic gold thread to quilt it - and it makes the BACK look amazing.

 I was a little concerned about the binding. I did not have any fabric that matched the last border.  When you wait so long to finish projects - well - it's next to impossible to find OLD fabric.  So.  I had to make due.  I did not double the binding fabric - and was able to make this very tiny binding.

I like it a lot.
FINISHED! too late to be linked with the 2012 UFO Challenge for March over at
  "Patchwork Times", but I will add this (and all my other completions)
when then next linky party opens at the end of March.


Now I can't wait until Christmas!!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I AM here!

It's been a while since I last posted.  I've been playing catch up.  Almost done with my January UFO and my February UFO and found my March UFO.

 I have caught up with the Blogger's Block of the Month.  Directions for six blocks have been revealed - and I have completed all six!!

Block Six

Block Five
Block Four

Block Three

Block Two

Block One

Altogether, so far.

It looks like I need some sunlight in order to get some better photos!  The rain and dreary weather, however, is what kept me in the sewing room.

Sew today, Sun tomorrow (or even later!!)
Back to work!